The Avalon Borough Council became the latest community in Cape May County to join the centralized dispatch services provided by Cape May County. Council approved a Shared Services Agreement with the County that results in a five year agreement that begins on March 1, 2021.
“The move to County dispatch not only increases the level of services provided to the Borough, but also saves money in our municipal budget”, said Avalon Council President John McCorristin. “We always explore options to enhance public service and we are confident that this new agreement will work very well for the Borough as both emergency and non-emergency calls will move through the County’s dispatch center, providing an unparalleled high level of efficiency for appropriate response”.
All emergency and non-emergency calls for police, fire, and rescue will now be handled by Cape May County’s dispatch center which includes the latest technology available. As with traditional dispatching services, the calls are immediately provided to the appropriate agency. The Borough of Avalon saves on both short term and long term financial obligations, including but not limited to technology advancement and upgrades, along with salaries, wages, health benefits, and pension obligations as all of those expenses are absorbed by the County. Avalon previously handled dispatching services for neighboring Stone Harbor before that community moved to County dispatch. And, shall the Borough or any municipality in County Dispatch have a large scale event, multiple dispatchers can manage the response to the event for the Borough with standards that exceed federal requirements.
The cost savings for technology upgrades are significant. Within two years, dispatch centers will be required to have NG911, the next generation in dispatch technology. The Cape May County Dispatch Center provides it, with some newer technologies automatically available to Avalon, including a text to 911 feature that allows the public to text their emergency to 911 in addition to calling in an emergency. Also coming in the future will be technology that will allow an individual to send a video of an emergency that would be transmitted directly to police or other emergency rescue for response.
“Avalon always aggressively pursues shared services agreements that not only improve services, but make financial sense for our community”, said Council Vice President Barbara Juzaitis. “Our police and public safety administration worked hard to move this project to the final stage, and we are excited to begin this new venture in less than one month”.
In 2019, the Cape May County Dispatch Center welcomed brand new technology that can pinpoint the exact location of a 911 emergency call to within 150 feet of the actual caller by using the RapidSOS program. This ensures that the proper response is made to the actual emergency in lieu of the nearest cell phone tower. Avalon will enjoy the benefits of this system under the agreement.
Lower Township, Wildwood Crest, and Stone Harbor joined the County dispatch center in advance of Avalon coming on board. The agreement will run through February 28, 2026.